Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wine BOS Lounge @ East Coast Road, Katong Village

This is one hidden place. Unless, if you're a frequent visitor to Katong Village. I didn't know there's a Katong Village till we got here. There's a carpark here as well, but my friend said the parking here is quite pricey. Had been to Wine BOS at Jalan Klapa, so this one here feels nicer. Well, nicer because the chairs that we sat on for that night al-fresco style, was still nicely cushioned...

entrance and blackboard of specials
we were here

We started the night with a Riesling, Deinhard Green Label (Germany).

Deinhard Green Label Riesling (alcohol: 10.5%)
light golden hue

The Riesling tasted light, fruity and refreshing, with a slight mineral finish. Mild sweetness. Quite likeable.

Then, we had a red wine, Ramon Roqueta Cabernet Sauvignon from Spain.

red and spicy (alcohol: 14%)
Spanish wine
nice deep dark red hue

But I have my doubts of having red wine served at room temperature in our Singapore climate. For most literature that I've come across thus far, the recommended serving temperature of reds is between 60-65 degrees Farenheit, which translates to roughly 18-19 degrees Celcius. The night time temperature for June is about 26-29 degrees Celcius. Personally, I'd like my wines no matter red or whites, to be served chilled.

Ok, back to the 2010 Ramon Roqueta Cabernet Sauvignon. It was rather spicy and aromatic.

By this time, we decided to have some food. It was a toss between good old chicken wings or calamari. Either or. So, calamari it was.

deep fried calamari

The deep fried calamari was nicely tender and goes well with the mayo sauce, and the wine of course. Munch munch sip sip.

Final bottle, was a Amesbury Estate Moscato Gold 2011 from Australia.

sweet wine (alcohol: 9.5%) Amesbury Estate (Australia)

Pleasant, quite sweet and has a smooth ripe taste.

We paid about $26 per pax (group of 4 pax).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Zaffron Kitchen @ East Coast Road

Located at 135/137 East Coast Road, this place is across the road, at the opposite side of 112 Katong. Was there for dinner on a Friday evening.

can't miss the bright cheery signboard

On our day of visit, the place was still fairly empty at 7pm as the dinner crowd only started to come in from 730pm onwards. The place has a nice ambiance, looking bright and cosy.

children's corner
cheeky prints

The popcorn machine is not for display only, as we found ourselves a bowl of popcorn for our table.

complimentary popcorn

Our dinner group consist of one guy and three ladies (with not so big appetites), so we ordered a korma chicken, tandoor tikka malai and naan (plain and cheese) to share.

our order

The food was served in about 10 minutes after our orders were keyed into the system. Quick and efficient.

plain naan (top left), cheese naan (bottom left), tandoor malai chicken and korma chicken

The korma chicken was non-spicy and tasted creamy and sweet. It has bits of cashew nuts in it as well. Good sauce for the naans.

korma chicken gravy

Speaking of naans, I quite adore the cheese naan.

a basket of cheese naans
cheesy center
just like pizza~

Also tried a bit of the plain naan, and for some reason, it seemed to be slightly chewier than the cheese naan. Hmm.

Feeling the need to have more gravy for the bread, I requested for curry gravy from the staff and they obliged. The fish curry gravy was nicely sweet, tangy and slightly spicy. Yummy.

yummy fish curry gravy

The carbs were nice, but we need meat! The tandoori malai chicken tikka were served in bite sized chunks. Flavourful with a hint of smokeyness.

tandoor malai chicken tikka, with green sauce
bite me
meaty goodness

For drinks, my friends had the good old teh to go with this meal. For me, I had the iced plum lime.

thirst quenching iced plum lime
cold water, is also available

This meal costs about $57 in total.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oriole Cafe & Bar @ Pan Pacific Serviced Suites, Somerset

Located at Level 1 of 96 Somerset Road, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites. If travelling via MRT, alight at Somerset MRT, come up and walk towards Marche and walk straight out of Somerset 313 building. There's an Irish pub to the right (Broitzeit as well), while Bedrock Bar & Grill and Oriole are on the left.

Was there on a Saturday afternoon and thought it was a good time to have lunch there. The weather was extremely hot, so we opted for indoor seating. Menus were brought out promptly.

mascot on menu
salt&pepper shakers, sugar and cream

Then we realized how noisy this place is. The sounds of people chatting reverbrated through-out the indoor seating area, well, at least at the section where we were! This isn't a place for quiet chatter, unless everyone has the same mind to lower their voices. Lively, I'd say.

the view from our seats

Service was quick and unobstrusive, and the place has a nice ambience if you can tune out all the loud noises. We ordered a chicken quesadillas and a Jamaican jerk chicken.

chicken quesadillas (@$15++)

The quesadillas (spicy tomato salsa, onion, mozzarella, tortillas) were quite pretty looking and served with some fried potato wedges and greens. Had a taste too and the shell was pretty crispy when eaten right away and the chicken pieces were quite tender. Liked the salsa too. Pretty light tasting.


Jamaican jerk chicken came towering with onion rings.

many rings to rule them all
deliciously tender charred jerk-rubbed chicken

The onion rings here suffered from a case where the batter were thick and hard, and the onions could barely be tasted. The corn salsa with little bits of cucumber and tomatoes, were refreshingly sweet and tangy. Nice. And the chicken, it tasted like baby chicken. Tender. And it was flavoursome, especially the charred bits.

But what's this 'jerk' that the chicken was rubbed with? A check with wiki revealed that the jerk spices had two main items; allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Other ingredients in the rub are cloves, garlic, salt, cinnamon, scallions, thyme and nutmeg. Hmm, but the chicken wasn't spicy at all. Some may find it a notch salty but not overly. Iced water would be handy.

The meal costs $40 and we didn't order any coffee as we felt rather full after lunch. It was also nice to have attentive service staff who held the door open when you enter or leave the cafe. Thank you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ginza Bairin @ JCube, Jurong East

Was invited to a tasting session at Ginza Bairin's second outlet in Singapore. Located at B1 of JCube, this shop has an open feel to it and seats 44 pax. The layout of the outlet gave it a somewhat fast-food joint kind of atmosphere, but did you know that Ginza Bairin in Japan, has already established 85 years of experience in Tonkatsu making?

shop interior

Coincidentally, June is also the month where rice planting festivals are held in Japan. What's more apt than for us to celebrate it by savouring rice dishes!

cute logo of shamisen playing pig
rice as a symbol of life
rice, our staple food

A trivia that I found interesting was that due to severe rice shortage at the end of the second World War, Ginza Bairin's founder, Nobukatsu-san had an idea and decided to pair katsu with bread instead of rice. The Katsu sandwich remains as one of its signature dishes till date. Talk about turning adversity into opportunities!

Coincidentally, we started the night with the Pork Katsu Sandwich, which is served in a box.

Pork Katsu Sandwich
closer view of the Pork Katsu Sandwich

The sandwich is simplicity personified. Firm pieces of deep fried breaded pork, coated with special home-made sweet sauce (Nobukatsu-san's recipe that has apples, onions and a blend of vegetables) and assembled ontop of soft white bread.

nice to meat you

The Pork Katsu Sandwich is suitable if you're looking for a light meal, or a snack in between meals.

Next, we had the Special Katsu-don. This was one item that I had wanted to try ever since my friend had it when we were at the ION Orchard outlet.

Special Katsu-don (Pork) existed since 1958
look at that wobbly egg~
mouthwatering looking piece of tender meat, yums!
precious rice with onions and sweet sauce

Seeing a wobbly egg on the verge of bursting was a fascinating sight. Imagine runny egg yolk on piping hot rice drizzled with sweet sauce...mmm

dazzling golden rice

Enjoyed the Special Katsu-don very much. The meat was tender and juicy, with its outer layer having absorbed much of its sauce, giving it a slightly sweet taste. The runny egg yolk mixed into the steaming hot rice gave it a silken soft feeling when eaten. Yums.

After that, we had the 'Special' Mixed Fry Set. Special because this was purposely mixed so that we can try the ebi fry, cheese pork fillet katsu and black pig katsu plus curry rice, all at the same time. Not sure what is the usual combination for the mixed fry set though but from the picture of its menu, it seems like it has ebi fry, cheese pork fillet and chicken karaage.

the flags are specially done for the event, so normally, it won't be served like this!
curry rice, (left to right) cheese pork fillet katsu, ebi fry and black pig katsu

The curry here is sweet and has a good consistency, which means it was neither too watery nor too thick. Has small bits of potatoes in it as well. Note that the curry will gradually thickens when its temperature cools.

cheese pork fillet katsu, look at those crunchy crumbs~
say cheese~

Can you tell from the pictures just how crispy those crumbs were? They were seriously crispy. Apparently, the breadcrumbs or panko here is the reduced sugar version and the deep frying uses cotton seed oil.

black pig katsu
looking rosy
eby fry

The eby fry was firm to the bite but a little overcooked. The cheese pork fillet katsu was quite a huge chunk of meat and has a stronger pork taste compared to the black pig. Am not sure but cheese, meat and curry all translated into quite an overwhelming dish for me. It was a little too rich. The black pig katsu while retained its clean flavour, was rather lean and not as tender as the meat from the Special Katsu-don dish.

Lastly, we had the Spicy Tonkatsu Ramen, a dish that is touted as a Singapore Exclusive.

Spicy Tonkatsu Ramen
look at the red chili oil, and by spicy I mean SPICY but shioks!
slurpilicious soup~

Was kind of surprised when I first tasted the minced pork that was laced with lots of chili oil. It was rather cold. Probably had to mix it into the soup? The soup was nicely cloudy and flavoursome. Thankfully, not too salty too.

springy noodles

The chili oil did a good job in clinging onto the strands of sprightly noodles. Gave that extra kick with each slurp. Nice.

Ni Tamago

For menu and promotions information for Ginza Bairin JCube, here's the link to their website.

Thank you Ashley and Athena, from The Brand Elixir for the kind invitation to this event and thank you to the good people of Ginza Bairin @JCube.

It was also nice to see in person food bloggers like Charlene from Gninethree, Dawn from 365days2play, Jasper from Six&Seven and Melissa from Melicacy. Please vote for them for the Singapore Blog Awards 2012 (Best Food Blog category) here.
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